From unranked in the NFL Network's Top 100 Players list to No. 7,
Mostly, the offensive tackles of the National Football League received an up close viewing of the many pass rushing moves possessed by the San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker.
Smith recorded 19.5 sacks in his second NFL season and did so in the first 13 games of the regular season. It was the most sacks through a team’s first 13 games in NFL history.
The 6-foot-4, 258-pound linebacker displayed a relentless approach to sacking opposing quarterbacks. The first-team All-Pro demonstrated the ability to bull-rush offensive tackles and use his athleticism to burst by them off the line of scrimmage.
“Aldon Smith is pretty fast, pretty much a freak of nature,” St. Louis Rams tackle Rodger Saffold said.
In two seasons, Smith has recorded 33.5 sacks, the most of any player in his first two seasons in NFL history. The 49ers linebacker surpassed the previous record of 31.0 sacks held by Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White.
Smith’s status on the NFL Top 100 list, the highest among eight other selections from San Francisco’s roster, was well-earned according to his teammates.
“Was Aldon smith on the list last year?” Pro Bowl safety
Smith has earned the respect of his teammates early in his 49ers career, but the league had no choice but to recognize his game-changing talents when he posted a 5.5-sack outing against the Chicago Bears on “Monday Night Football.”
It was a performance unlike any other on the NFL's ultimate primetime stage. Smith recorded the most sacks ever in “Monday Night Football” history.
“That’s crazy,” Whitner added.
Smith’s long arms and powerful upper body give him an advantage against whoever blocks him on the perimeter.
Teams are well aware of the matchup problems presented by the 49ers linebacker.
“When you play the San Francisco 49ers, you know you’re going to play a physical front,” Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito said. “And then they have this freak coming off the edge getting after the passer.”
Smith believes he’s just scratching the surface of what he can become. In the NFL Top 100 reaction show, the 49ers Pro Bowler explained that his goal is to lead the league in sacks in 2013.